Expert urges mainland to review constitution
CNATAIPEI--A Beijing scholar has suggested that China try “catch up” with other nations while it is working to modernize its political system, as its Constitution is quite different from most other countries'.
January 7, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
Cao Siyuan, an expert on constitutional study, said he has compared China's basic law with those of 110 other nations worldwide and found that the Chinese Constitution in many aspects is way behind.
For instance, in 56 percent of the constitutions examined, there are clear rules on popular voting systems but there are none in China's Constitution, Cao said in an article on a web forum titled “Rights.”
In terms of leadership laws, China and North Korea are the only two countries in the study that have constitutional support for dictatorship, he said.
Further, in 95 percent of the countries, there is no constitutional recognition of the privilege of any political party, as there is in China, Cao said.
He also noted that independence of the judiciary is enshrined in 66 percent of the constitutions he looked at, but this is not the case in China.
He said China's Constitution, unlike 94 percent of the other countries,' makes no provision for separation of the executive, legislative and judiciary branches of government.
Furthermore, Cao said, in 67 percent of the 110 countries in the study, there is a “constitutional watchdog” agency — something that does not yet exist in China.
Direct popular voting systems are in place in 76 percent of the countries to elect national and provincial-level assemblies, Cao said. In China, however, this type of poll is used only for electing assemblies at the county level or below, the Chinese scholar said.
In the majority of so-called people's representative bodies in China, the members are elected by “indirect vote,” he noted.
He said that in 85 percent of the countries in the study, no individuals are mentioned in the Constitution, but China has Mao Zedong's name written into its Constitution.
Another difference is the inclusion of “isms” in China's Constitution, which “forces the ruling authorities to put into effect” socialism, communism and materialism, Cao said.
On the other hand, there are no constitutional articles in China on citizens' freedom of speech, publication, assembly, association and demonstration, as there are in 91 percent of the countries in the study, he said.
The “concrete” rules and regulations in the constitutions of those countries are aimed at ensuring respect for people's basic rights and preventing illegal arrests, house arrests or detention of individuals, Cao added.
There is a “gap” between China's Constitution and those of the majority of nations in the world, and China needs to do some “catch up work” in its efforts to reform its constitutional rule, the scholar concluded.